Amber Smith flew into enemy fire in some of the most dangerous combat zones in the world. One of only a few women to fly the Kiowa Warrior helicopter whose mission, armed reconnaissance, required its pilots to stay low and fly fast, perilously close to the fight Smith deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as a member of the elite 2-17 Cavalry Regiment, part of the legendary 101st Airborne Division, the Screaming Eagles. Read more...
Amber Smith flew into enemy fire in some of the most dangerous combat zones in the world. One of only a few women to fly the Kiowa Warrior helicopter whose mission, armed reconnaissance, required its pilots to stay low and fly fast, perilously close to the fight Smith deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as a member of the elite 2-17 Cavalry Regiment, part of the legendary 101st Airborne Division, the Screaming Eagles. She rose to Pilot-in-Command and Air Mission Commander in the premier Kiowa unit in the Army, repeatedly flying into harm s way during her 2005 and 2008 deployments.
In Danger Close, Smith takes us into the heat of battle, enabling readers to feel, hear, and smell the experience of serving as a combat pilot in high-intensity warfare. This is an edge-of-the seat story of learning to perform under pressure and persevere under extreme duress both in action against an implacable enemy and within the elite boy s club of Army aviation. Smith s unrelenting fight for both mastery and respect delivers universal life-lessons that will be useful to any civilian, from earning your spurs as a newbie to embracing the suck through setbacks that challenge your self-confidence to learning to trust your gut as a veteran of your profession.
Intensely personal, cinematic, poignant, and inspiring, Danger Close is a war story on one hand, and also the story of a brave pilot who fought for and earned a lifetime membership in the ranks of the best of the best."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-06-27
- Reviewer: Staff
Like a skilled helicopter pilot who skims the ground without churning up too much dust, Smith, a former U.S. Army Kiowa Warrior pilot, superficially revisits her years in the military. As both piloting and military service ran in her family, Smith grew up believing that someday she’d don a uniform and fly planes. The 9/11 attacks turned someday into now. Smith was still in college, though, and without a degree only the Army flight program accepted her—and only for helicopter training. She discusses her experience training as a pilot, occasionally peeling back a layer or two from the surface but studiously avoiding controversy. Smith does deliver deft, almost loving, descriptions of the Kiowa helicopter and the role that the chopper and its crew play in combat. Though comfortable writing about training, equipment, and missions, Smith sidesteps addressing military gender politics. This may come as a disappointment to some readers, given that all combat positions recently opened up for women and that sexual assault and harassment continue. She also shrinks from discussing the politics or the history of the wars. There’s no question that Smith was an accomplished and loyal soldier who served her country well, but readers will be left wondering why she didn’t address crucial aspects of service. Agent: Jim Hornfischer, Hornfischer Literary. (Sept.)